After only nine days, A&E backed off its suspension of “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson.
The suspension, sparked by controversial remarks Robertson said about homosexuals, outraged the show’s fans, who were instrumental in making it the top-rated reality program on cable TV, and second only to “The Walking Dead” among all programming shows, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The entire Robertson family was on hiatus for duck-hunting season, The Hollywood Reporter said, so no filming had taken place during the patriarch’s suspension.
A&E issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, saying:
As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s homes, and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles.
That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the “coarse language” he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article and reiterate that they are not views we hold.
But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family … a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.
So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.
We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.
GLADD’s national spokesman responded Friday night with the following brief statement of disapproval:
Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists. If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A&E has chosen profits over African American and gay people – especially its employees and viewers.
Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer, questioned A&E’s sudden turnaround.
“Despite our celebration, we remain uncertain of A&E’s true intent,” Stone said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Today, in the network’s statement of their core values – centered on ‘creativity, inclusion, and mutual respect’ – Faith Driven Consumers are left wondering whether A&E considers us to be a part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity. Do they also now embrace the biblically based values and worldview held by the Robertson family and millions of Faith Driven Consumers?”
A&E said the entire family would resume filming in the spring.
Watch “The Five” discuss the development via Fox News: